All or Nothing
  • Oliver
    January 22, 2009

    Yeah well, once you managed to convince yourself that you “want nothing” you would also need to convince a lot of your relations about the same thing, otherwise they will inevitably coin your lifestyle as “failure”, more or less openly. Ahhh, want versus need *hmmm*… The best approach is still to make shitloads of money. That way, you can very well afford to want nothing and it won’t hurt as much as if you cannot afford anything anyway.

  • Antsan
    January 22, 2009

    Buddhism summarized. Well, just in a very negative way.

  • Jeff
    January 22, 2009

    Wanting is a spiritual instinct. Does a plant “want” sunlight? Our spirit wants to connect with the source of spirituality. Material things are like a grow-lite to a plant, feels good for a minute but doesn’t really satisfy.

    So to rectify our relationship with material things we can cultivate detachment. I mean, we are IN the world right now, so let’s take advantage of that, but don’t let it overwhelm us. That’s detachment. You’re here, but don’t let it get you down.

    You’re in NYC, right? Google the New York City Baha’i Center. Someone there will be able to talk about it better than I can in a comment box.

    Be Happy!

    “A true seeker …must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. ”
    – from the writings of the Baha’i Faith

  • Paul
    January 22, 2009

    A hug is not a “thing” but an act. To want no thing does not mean that we do not want to act. Life is actions. Possessions are already dead.

    Cat is just perverse.

  • Lulu
    January 22, 2009

    Why is a touch screen such an important feature these days?

  • Tailypoe
    January 22, 2009

    want does not matter. Need might.

    Have a nice eternity.

  • Jaegermeister
    January 22, 2009

    Touch screens create fingerprints! Everytime you touch the touch screen, you need to wipe off fingerprints! Touch screens create counterproductivity!! And should all be burnt in a big pile in front of city hall!

  • Rasmus
    January 22, 2009

    Wonderful comic. So clever.

  • Eddie
    January 22, 2009

    the world needs more buddhist comics

  • river-wind
    January 22, 2009

    Very common. I had this same problem.

    Suffering is. That is not escapable. Suffering from wanting, and moreso from clinging, however, is escapable.

    Having is not the problem. Wanting is natural. The key is to not mire yourself in that want, and not attach yourself to that which you have.

    Enjoy it while you have it, want it only so much as is beneficial. Don’t let your desire turn from a longing for a happiness into a fear of not having *that* happiness. Love everything, including your own self. Have as much patience with yourself as you try to practice having with others; you are just as human.

  • Athena
    January 22, 2009

    Whatever. I still want an ice cream cone.

  • a
    January 22, 2009

    Silly Girl, you can’t get hugs at Muji.

  • Dorothy
    January 23, 2009

    Oliver – surely living in a way you find morally defensible bests living up to other peoples’ ideas of material acceptability. Or does it? Failure is subjective, but only up to a certain point.

  • Dorothy
    January 23, 2009

    Jeff – I’m not in New York right now, but surely the line between need and want is not clear, but shifts. Things are not one or the other. That’s part of the problem.

  • P
    January 23, 2009

    @Oliver -if you want nothing then there is no desire to have relations deem your life a success or not :}

    Still I think that there is a certain satisfaction in a tuna sandwich that doesn’t decrease when you get it -it might be a fleeting pleasure in the grand scheem of things, but its worth it! Happyness is the fleeting taste of a tuna sandwich.
    or icecream…
    or cherries….
    or a tuna sandwich followed by cherry icecream

  • Nick
    January 23, 2009

    How can a cat hug? They don’t have elbows.

  • Laurie
    January 23, 2009

    Touch screens rule. The fingerprints are messy little analog tracks of your favorite repetitive motions ! Collect them for a while before you wipe them away. See where you’ve been? Pretty . You left tracks !

  • 1423
    January 23, 2009

    Maybe it’s possible to work out which things are actually worth desiring, and stop kicking yourself for desiring them.

    Also: Why doesn’t the Buddha hoover under the sofa?
    Because he doesn’t have any attachments.

  • Andrew S
    January 23, 2009

    “Cat is just perverse”

    And that is why we LOVE Cat.

  • Dorothy
    January 24, 2009

    Are there things worth desiring?

  • william
    January 24, 2009

    When I go through periods of contentment without desire, people invariably think I’m depressed…

    I think there are things worth desiring, as long as those things are bound to some sort of greater passion (to create, to collect, fireworks, etc.). There’s a sense in which “not wanting” really is a life-denying philosophy, but I don’t think that’s always the case either.

  • Kevin
    January 24, 2009

    Cats can put their front legs around your neck while you hold them, and rest their head on your neck. It’s close. They have no idea what they’re doing, of course.

  • Chris Jones
    January 24, 2009


  • Nick
    January 25, 2009

    @william -I can relate to that, most people would seem to think that a endless desire for consumption is the hallmark of a healthy mind.
    I also agree that some thing are worth desiring, but I would hardly claim collecting is a good reason to do so. Collecting, after all, is owning for its own reason. One might not like the product, but purchase it anyway for the sake of collecting. This is the very essence of consumerism.

  • Sean
    January 26, 2009

    The phrase false dichotomy came to mind on first reading. But perhaps straw man would be more appropriate. I know the author is aware of the hedonic treadmill ( Buying stuff, like eating stuff, or smoking stuff, learning stuff, etc. is at least sometimes an attempt to feel whole. Empty self indulgence. I know I do that on a small scale (and as an aside, I think perhaps it what you do with stuff, rather than the stuff that is worthwhile).

    In order to be satisfied, the author suggests “you have to learn to want nothing”. I think that end result is being confused with the path. In reverse, if you are satisfied, you want nothing. It is a heck of a lot more meaningful to be okay with yourself and not trying to use stuff as an emotional salve, than to go chasing around comfortable pauperism. If you’re fat, you eat less and exercise, you don’t get liposuction.

    Being satisfied is finding something good in life and it leads to wanting less or nothing. So there’s a step missing in “but isn’t wanting nothing giving up on life”. Mind you, being satisfied means that a lot of stuff doesn’t get done (stuff is just an abstract term here if you didn’t figure it out).

    The ending is just silly in my opinion, but if you ask me to seriously think about it (which you didn’t)…Girl is actually doing the right thing, she’s identified that she is missing something (comfort, companionship, lack of anxiety, whatever) and has declared that need.

    The next step would be to take action. If Cat’s response is what he normally gives, he’s toxic and she might want to start taking some new actions instead of using intellectual pontification as an intellectual salve. And that is the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Sean
    January 26, 2009

    One other thing. Even if Girl hasn’t uncovered the underlying reason she wants a hug, an equally annoying, but more helpful comment by Cat would have been a series of Whys.

    Why? It is trying when little kids say it and every once and a while it’s because the adult being asked doesn’t want to look into a void they are carefully ignoring.

  • brent
    January 26, 2009

    I dont know what muji is referring to and i only went back one strip to figure it out, but it is sounds like a transliteration of the nepalese word for “pubic hair” which is used as we use “asshole”. It sounds more like mujhi or muzhi. Just what came to mind. I also want a tuna sandwich.

  • Katie
    January 27, 2009

    Wow, y’all know we’re talking about cartoons here right.

  • Chris Kuan
    January 28, 2009


    MUJI is the name of a Japanese store that sells lots of different kinds of stuff.

  • Nick
    January 28, 2009

    @Katie – Just because it’s a cartoon doesn’t mean the message is childish.

  • bob
    January 31, 2009

    i love how the punchline came after a pause (a sigh, i imagine) by both the characters. perfect!

    laughed a lot

  • Lunatic Hiatus
    February 18, 2009

    get over your desire to get an iphone and get a G1 or openmoko. At least then you will be supporting linux, the operating system developed by neckbeards and cats all over the world.

  • Sev
    February 19, 2009

    It’s best to want things you won’t have when you’ve used them, such as beer, fireworks, or friends.

  • john
    February 21, 2009

    Such is humanity. A mess of ideas and fading concepts to form some sort of blob of reality in which we create some form of _satisfaction_ from something or nothing at all. That’s not materialism, it’s everything. Everything is made to satisfy, even if that something changes the meaning of the word.

    It’s incredibly easy to change the way you think. If one tries hard enough. But one needs a reason.

  • Rory
    April 27, 2009

    Wait, but isn’t the elbow just the second joint along your arm? Cat’s totally have that! The problem lies in their shoulder joints having a limited range of rotation.

    June 12, 2009

    @ Jeff

    No, a plant does not ‘want’ sunlight. Plants grow towards sunlight because a chemical called atropine that stimulates growth in plants is rendered ineffective when exposed to sunlight, so the side that is not exposed to sunlight will grow more, facilitating curvature towards the source of the light. But neat-o try!

  • Me!
    September 23, 2009

    This made me rather sad, on the other hand, I love my shiny new iPod touch. Consumption fills the emptiness within my heart, which on reflection; makes me sadder. So I buy more products and consumer electronics: a vicious cycle on which Apple grows fat.

  • s. t.
    November 15, 2009

    Performance with or without beer (with or without whiskey) transcends wanting, and channels sublimated desire. Though this varies by degrees. But scratching together something in order to take part can cause distraction bordering on shock: thereby submerging presence (though through madness such processes can become performance (though you run the risk of not producing). Also with performance the act of having becomes elusive and performance is itself maladaptive. The cake is there its just moving around so fast you can only mourn its loss.

    And as The Doors film suggests: the audience just wants something sacred.

  • The other Jack
    March 28, 2011

    I’d hug Girl.

  • homemade pellet mill
    May 10, 2012

    I somebody been municipality out any of your posts and i can rely pretty groovy move. I cognition definitely bookmark your powerfulness.

  • dan
    January 1, 2013

    Pellet Mill you took the words right out of mouth.

  • Golux
    September 30, 2013

    So, was this before or after Apple’s release of that sorry Daliescque map system that was supposed to be a Google killer. It was/is to be a great entry for the “Hosers ‘n Posers” award of the decade.

  • it doesnt matter who i am
    May 17, 2016

    Perhaps the secret to satisfaction is to want and then stop wanting.

Add comment